CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Old Glory. The stars and stripes. The red, white and blue. The American flag has a lot of nicknames, but most Americans know exactly what it represents: Democracy, freedom and the ability to create one’s own destiny.
The New York Times recently published an opinion essay on the American flag with several designs. It asked artists and graphic designers to change the design to represent present-day America.
The designs were met with some love — and some pushback.
“I wore that flag on my shoulder when I deployed to Iraq, the 101st Airborne Division when I served in the U.S. Army, and I think it’s ridiculous to even consider changing it.”
Jake Bequette, a veteran, former NFL player, and Arkansas Senate primary candidate, joined “The Donlon Report” on Thursday. He believes the changes are too politically motivated.
“The Democrat party have been pushing for a fundamental transformation of this country for many years and we’re seeing evidence in that,” he said. “We’re seeing evidence of that in attempts to change our flag, we’re seeing that in trying to create a new national anthem they’re playing before certain sporting events. But if Democrats are telling us they want to fundamentally change the US, we should believe them, and we should fight back against it.”
The new designs focus on a range of identities: from unity to saving the planet to a shared acknowledgment of our country’s past, repairing systemic racism, Black Lives Matter, and more.
Bequette also spoke about the Pentagon’s annual report on suicides. The latest report, which was released on Thursday, shows a 41% increase in suicides among active-duty troops from 2015-2020.
Bequette said seeing these numbers at such high levels is troubling.
“It’s a serious crisis in this country, as many as 22 veterans per day are taking their own lives, and it’s something that’s very close to my heart.”
The data from the report also showed that the suicide rate among active duty service members has increased by 9.1% in 2020. From 2018 to 2020, it rose 15.3%.
Bequette said getting veterans back up on their feet should be a marquee issue for the U.S. He also said that resources in this country should be directed toward supporting veterans.
“Tens and hundreds are homeless … destitute … out of work suffering from mental health issues. We should be helping those folks before people who are not Americans.”